In this coming-of-age novel, teenage Guy Boucher's life is dominated by his alcoholic uncle Isadore who lives with him and his mother and sister in a small town ouside the larger community of Big Harbour, Nova Scotia. Guy gets to drive his uncle's truck but is limited in his freedom, as he has to take his mother to and from her job as housekeeper in the ciy. While waiting for her one lunch hour, he spies pretty Corinne Fortune and her friend Pam sitting outside their large high school. "You're not from around here," Corinne tells Guy, giving him a slightly exotic appeal. Guy is infatuated by her, but when he moves into Big Harbour, she rejects him, telling him she has a relationship with an imaginary older man.
Corinne falsely implies to her family that Guy has sexually abused her, turning the whole town against him.Her brother beats Guy up, but the community wants more revenge. Guy disapears, but not before a whole panoply of events take place. Isadore who has moved into Guy's mother's apartment dominates Guy's life, teaching him how to play hockey and coaching him to become a sports hero, but Guy gives up playing after a traumatic episode on the ice.
Isadore finally receives his comeuppance from his drinking buddy, Alison Mason, Guy's English teacher, a draft-dodger who gets the courage to say no to drinking any longer. A voice within Alison speaks up. "Maybe Isadore is nothing but an ugly-minded, dirt-ignorant hick and you have been kidding yourself all along." .
This report prepared by Betty-Jeanne Korson